Forty years ago as a graduate student, Larry McCloskey took a job as an orderly on the spinal cord unit of the Royal Ottawa Hospital. The experience changed his life, with the part-time job becoming a full time and lifelong vocation. He has worked at Carleton University on accessibility issues for over thirty-five years, creating or co-founding programs that have become entrenched as best practices, such as: Attendant Service Program (the only of its kind in the world); the Paul Menton Centre for students with Disabilities, Make the Cut for transitioning high school students; From Intention to Action (FITA) mental heath and student development; and Research, Education, Accessibility and Design (READ).
Larry worked with Dr. Stephenson on the Learning Opportunities Task Force (LOTF) from 1997 until 2002, an initiative that changed the landscape and greatly improved post-secondary success for students with learning disabilities. After LOTF ended, Dr. Stephenson entrusted him with conducting an unprecedented seven year longitudinal study of persons with learning disabilities progressing through their post-secondary education towards graduation and into careers. That experience helped transform the Paul Menton Centre into a leader among Disability Services Offices which resulted its students with disabilities beating the seven year graduation rate of the general population.
Larry has received a Community Action Award from Lieutenant Governor Hilary Weston, and the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal. In 2018, Larry was appointed Chair of the David C. Onley Accessibility Awards Committee by the Hon. Raymond Cho, Minister of Seniors and Accessibility. In 2018, his book Lament for Spilt Porter was shortlisted for a Word Guild best Canadian manuscript, and in 2019 it won in the best non-fiction category as a published book. His new manuscript Inarticulate Speech of the Heart has also been shortlisted for a Word Guild Award. That book distils lessons learned and meaning from the perspective of his many instructive students over the decades.